In The Case of the Haunted Island, the Mahina was a trading schooner belonging to Captain Nathaniel Clark. While at Oto-Via, Clark had murdered Captain David MacDonald who was living on board the wrecked cargo ship Belinda and then robbed the ship of its cargo and marine instruments. According to Ah Song, the Chinese owner of the general store at Oto-via, the crew of the Mahina was seen by the islanders to be carrying heavy loads from the Belinda. The crew appeared too dark to be Polynesians and were thought to be from Malaita in the Solomon Islands.
After the cargo had been transferred, Clark told the islanders of Oto-via that the atoll was haunted and that they should leave the place. He offered to transport the women and children while the men followed in their canoes. Most of the cargo stolen from the Belinda was subsequently sold among the islands of French Polynesia. Clark later left for England as a passenger on board the Esperence, after having sold the Mahina to Captain Hay, together with her crew and 40 tons of the Belinda's cargo.